Mother Courage in Africa – for Ramses Alfa, these are the women harvest workers in the peanut fields of Togo who work with their babies on their backs in the searing heat for meagre wages. Or the women street vendors in the capital Lomé, who walk from house to house carrying a heavy load of drinks, fruit or fabrics in search of customers, trying to eke out an income for their families. Like Brecht’s “Mother Courage”, these women are in a conflict, although a permanent one, directed against their own needs and therefore against themselves, but also against a system which keeps them trapped on the lowest rung of the capitalist chain of exploitation.
“Brecht’s stylistics and complexity have always left plenty of room for popular expression. In “Mother Courage and Her Children”, we find different levels of language according to the social class to which the characters belong. The alternation between these linguistic levels and the use of songs and narratives, all of which contribute to the distancing, resemble the folk dramas of the fairy tale practised in Togo and the Concert Party. Brecht’s substantive focus on social issues makes him a writer for Africa. The African folk dramas alternate between narrative and storyline, and depict people from modest backgrounds as heroes. Brecht’s heroes are also frequently people from modest backgrounds.”
Biography Ramses Alfa
Ramsès Bawibadi Alfa was born in Sotouboua, Togo. He lives and works in Lomé. Alfa has attended various workshops in Togo, Burkina Faso and France, and has acted in plays by Koltés and Chekhov, among others. As a director, he is primarily interested in Brecht, and has staged works including “Mother Courage” and “The Caucasian Chalk Circle”. Ramsés Bawibadi Alfa has also published several plays and stories, some of which he has also directed. He is currently leading a project for the artistic education of children and the “Louxor” theatre group in Lomé.
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